General Appeal Process Enquiry Stage 1(12 Posts)
Im slightly confused with the stage 1 process at a NON infant class size appeal.
I understand that an appeal (non multiple) takes place in two stages and in certain circumstances an appeal can be upheld at stage 1.
If the refusal reason is standard "the admission of additional children would prejudice the provision of efficient education or the efficient use of resources" - if the panel are satisfied that LA applied the admissions criteria correctly can an appeal still be upheld at this stage if you can prove that the school can run above PAN e.g. currently is or has done previously?
What confuses me is that if stage 2 is used to present the personal case for appeal how could a panel decide at stage 1 if the prejudice is more towards the school or the additional childs circumstances??
Sorry I know its a thick question and in my case KS2 appeal I think it will go to stage 2 but Im just not clear on the stage 1 part xx
Hi Mason you've just got a bit confused about the order of things and which part of the decision is made in which stage. Have you read the Code? It lays it all out clearly.
So, in stage 1, the Appeals panel must admit the child if they find that a) the admissions authority didn't apply the rules correctly and if they did, the child would have got a place or b) there is no prejudice to the school in giving the child a place. In other words, they can do so without compromising the efficient education of the other children - they have space.
If they find that a) the school applied the rules correctly and denied the child a space, b) they didn't apply the rules correctly, but the child still wouldn't have got a place if they had applied them correctly or c) there is prejudice (as yet undefined) to the school in admitting the child, they must move on to stage 2 of the process, which is 'balancing the prejudice between the child and the school'.
Does that help?
Stage one takes no account of the appellant's personal circumstances; it is there to determine whether the school has made its case that it is full, and that the admittance of any more children would cause prejudice. It may be the case that the admissions criteria were applied correctly, but the panel realises that, for example, the school has just expanded and has very large classrooms, it spreads its PAN across more classes than normal all with a couple of TAs as well as a teacher (so for example 60 children across 3 classes), has large dining facilities...etc. So the panel might well say actually, we know you are technically full in that year but you could easily cope with another - there would be no prejudice in taking another - at which point if there is only one appellant, the appeal is won, regardless of the appellants case.
It might be the case, very occasionally, that a panel might decide the school could cope with 2 or 3 more children but more than that are appealing, so stage 2 does still have to go ahead to hear the separate cases.
If the panel decide that there would be prejudice, the appeal continues to stage 2 to see if there are any appellants for whom the panel decides the prejudice to them of not going to the school is greater than the prejudice to the school.
Realistically, a school will normally prove prejudice at stage one, unless something odd has been going on (their PAN not keeping up with facilities, etc). Very few schools operate at a level these days where they would have no issues taking above PAN!
Be aware that it isn't just as simple as running above PAN. Consider whether your school of choice runs in single year groups or mixed year groups in a class. If it's mixed year groups, you'll have to think about whether the combined class size will be impacted. E.g. my DD is in a mixed year 3/4 class. Her year is at PAN but the year below is over PAN. They have 35 in the class. An appeal for her year to go over PAN would fail because the class is huge despite her year only being at PAN.
Look at the class layout. Some older schools have awkward shaped classrooms, where they have a T-shape, L-shape, diamond or triangle. It may be that they have two walls taken up with cupboards, sinks and doorways/Windows, and a third with the interactive whiteboard. So they can then only have the desks in one way, which means one area of the classroom can't be used for whole class work. They can, and will, argue that the useable floor space of that classroom is only 2/3 of the actual size due to this, so it can only accommodate 24 children, not 34, and whole class teaching is essential. Appeals panels cannot challenge the organisational decisions of teachers.
The Appeals panel also can't take into account suggestions that if they move x class into room y, then they can fit the bigger class into room z.
So it's really important to focus on the benefits that the school will bring to your child and why that school is so vital to your child above all the other available schools.
Thank you both. To my knowledge I am the only one appealing for a place in a year 3 group.
Yr 3 is at PAN at 60
Yr5 & Y6 (4 classes) each have 31 pupils so above PAN.
As the school is functioning above PAN in other KS2 year groups - can I use that as evidence or is it solely the year group I have applied for only? xx
Sorry my reply crossed with yours
The year groups are not mixed classes they are 2 classes of 30
Class layout. - I am awaiting confirmation of this. It is my understanding that it 55/56 sqm
Desks seat 2 and are clustered together to make groups but rearranged depending upon activities.
They would have needed to add an additional table when admitting above PAN in y5 & y6 - FOI info states the classrooms can accom a minimum of 30 pupils. Only 1 of the 4 classes above PAN is due to SEN /ECHP
I have my stage 2 evidence as strong as I can - I certainly have no hopes but I just wondered xx
Thank you x
If you are the only one appealing this will be an individual appeal. The appeal panel will almost certainly go through the full hearing before making any decisions.
Other year groups being above PAN helps in that it suggests the school can cope with one or two more pupils in each year.
The decision will ultimately depend on the strength of the school's arguments that it can't cope with any more pupils versus the strength of your arguments that your child needs to attend this school. All you can do is make the best arguments you can and hope the panel comes down on your side.
Wishing you every luck with your appeal Masonj377
It is very very stressful and whilst we won at stage one for a year 3 place last week (class at PAN), I think we were extraordinarily lucky with our panel who seemed very on the ball about the fact that in previous years class sizes had risen to 35 but at the moment the total school roll was under capacity. 'Our' classroom is very small but the academy failed to tell the LEA about its expansion plans which are to be finished in January 2018 - I doubt that helped their case at all - yes its tight now, but it won't be next term. Different areas, different panels and all that...hang in there and prepare as best you can. All the best
Thank you ifink & congratulations on winning your place xx
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